Friday, March 30, 2012

Plans for the Future and Notes on Pricing

Hello again.  Just figured I'd update, pass along some info on the seemingly-strange pricing structure I have, and share some plans I have for the future of my novels.

Let's get to it, then.  My immediate plans for my novels are on hold.  There are several reasons for this, but probably the biggest one is called stress.  My doctor had to double my blood pressure medication to bring my numbers back down to a reasonable level.  Yes, at 32 I'm battling high blood pressure.  I've been fighting it since I was 15, so this is nothing new, but the increase in medication level is.  Normally any change is just in type of medication rather than the strength, but that's pretty irrelevant.  Right now I'm on the highest dose of this particular medicine and if I can't get my numbers under control long enough I'll have to add more -- and that will bring with it even more side effects.  So far the worst one seems to be a very depressed energy level (which I probably don't have to tell you why that's not good for writing), but I'm watching out for some worse ones.  However, I am trying to get some writing done.  I've written probably two thousand words in the last two weeks, which makes me feel embarrassed at such a low output level, but it is what it is.  Adding to my stress are tax woes, though half of that is my own fault.  I could have used some advice for a fist-time filer that I didn't get until after I'd already filed.  Yeah, I only owe $65 more in taxes than I paid, but it's a pain in the butt to amend a tax return.

Now, that's probably more personal information than anyone actually cares to read, so let's move on to the pricing structure.  Put simply, The Grand Granger is $2.99 because Amazon forced me to price it that way.  That's a head-scratcher to some, so I'll try to explain.  First off, Amazon has two royalty schemes; 35% and 70% (compared to traditional-published royalty rates of 25%).  Obviously the 70% royalty scheme is more attractive, but it comes with some strings attached.  First, a book has to be a wholly-new creation (that's how I'm simplifying the actual details) instead of a public-domain novel (aka a classic).  Secondly, and this is the kicker, the book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 in the USA store.  What does that mean?  Well, since all books have to be priced (at least last time I checked) in $1 increments starting at $.99, I could either get paid ~$.35, $.69, or $2.09 (not counting the delivery charge).  Considering I feel The Grand Granger is worth more than a paltry 70 cents per sale, I opted for the $2.99.  If Amazon would allow the 70% royalty option at $1.99 you can bet your breakfast I'd have my price lowered to that as soon as the Kindle Select promotion period ends -- or sooner if they'd let me while keeping the Select status.  Meanwhile, when I debuted Subject 12 I priced it at $4.99, dropped it to $2.99 to boost Christmas sales, and pushed it back up to $3.99 because I noticed sales were the same at both prior price points.

Continuing in that vein, there are a few things that probably need more explanation.  For starters, what is Kindle Select?  It's an exclusivity agreement with Amazon.  In return for a 90-day exclusive sales agreement, Amazon offers to let me offer any book enrolled in the program for free for up to 5 days during the 90-day period, pays me if anyone who subscribes to Amazon Prime "borrows" the book, but at the caveat that it has to be enrolled at the 70% royalty level as well.  There's a little more to it, but that sums it up.  Since I wrote The Grand Granger to be kind of a loss-leader to get more sales of Subject 12 on the books, my plan all along was to get it either at the $.99 price point or in the Kindle Select program so I could give it away, and it took me 4 months to write instead of 4 weeks, I went the latter route for now.

So, why do I price my books so low when some people have been surprised that I wasn't published traditionally?  Simple.  Value.  I'm of an age where I remember going into bookstores and walking out with three paperbacks for $10, and I don't mean used paperbacks.  I remember staying up late to devour those books, being tired all the next day at school but insisting on staying up late again so I could finish one more chapter before passing out again, dragons and spaceships and superheroes battling it out in my dreams.  I wanted to continue in that tradition of fun, inexpensive books, so I went low-ball when I had the chance.  Unfortunately that also comes with it the perception of value.  How good could it be for only $4?  $3?  It must be crap!  Well, I'm trying to prove those people wrong every day, and with your help I can do it!

Well, I think I'm done for the night.  I encourage you to leave comments or hit my up at my Twitter if you want.  I promise to get back to you as soon as I can.  Thanks for reading!


  1. Ronald David MorrisMarch 31, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I just found Subject 12 and really enjoyed it. I will be checking to see what the Grand Granger is about next. I find 2.99 and 3.99 books to frequently be very good. On the other hand I usually don't buy ebooks over 7.99, particularly new authors. I truly hope you continue the series.

    I am a 52 year old diabetic with blood pressure problems myself. My doctor is one of the best endocrinologists in Texas and prescribed the Atkins diet. I mean he wrote it on a prescription pad. When I actually stay on the diet my sugar drops from 300 to 100 and my blood pressure improves. Type 2 Diabetes. I am not saying it will work for everyone, but you might check it out with your doctor. Good luck with your health.

  2. I wouldnt worry about the pricing on the Grand Granger, I bought it after Subject 12 just on the awesomeness of said book. Any book 2.99 through 4.99 is pretty much a buy for me on any of your books so far, keep up the fantastic work, take however long you need, its just nice that i can find out whats happening now that you have a blog :-) , Thanks Darrel


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